Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Grace is Gone, the brand new thriller from Emily Elgar. My thanks to publisher Sphere for sending me a copy to review. Based on a real life case, the premise really intrigued me. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Meg and her daughter Grace are the most beloved family in Ashford, the lynchpin that holds the community together.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
So when Meg is found brutally murdered and her daughter missing, the town is rocked by the crime. Not least because Grace has been sick for years – and may only have days to live.
Who would murder a mother who sacrificed everything, and take a teenager away from the medication that could save her life? Everyone is searching for an answer, but sometimes the truth can kill you . . .
I’ve ummed and ahhed and gone backwards and forwards over my thoughts while writing this review. This is a book that has left me a little conflicted but not because it’s not a good book. Let’s get that out of the way right now because if you are here looking for a bad rating, you aren’t going to find it. This is more of a cautionary note to the curious. The problem I have is that I know the case that this book was based upon and that did change my experience of the book. If I could say anything, anything at all about this it would be that unless you already know the ins and outs, don’t go looking up the case until after you have read the book. It takes some of the mystery out of the read.
That out of the way, back to the real reason we are here – the book. This is a twisty and intriguing story of murder and missing persons, Grace is a heavily disabled young woman with a myriad of limiting health conditions. She lives with her mother, Meg, in a close knit community in Cornwall. We join the pair at what is really towards the end of their story, with Meg murdered and Grace missing, but in spite of this, the tale is far from over. Through a mixture of investigation and recapping via diary entries, we learn more about the pair in the time leading up to the murder, and the point at which the two central characters, Cara and Jon, strive to find out what really happened, and to find Grace before it is too late.
In spite of not being perhaps as surprised by the way the plot developed as I could have been, the story and the beautiful writing really did draw me in. I read this over two sittings which, given that I was reading a book book (not my preferred media these days) is really good speed for me. I was pulled into the world of the characters and probably became as absorbed in what was happening to and between Jon and Cara as I was in finding out what happened to Grace. Emily Elgar’s style of writing, the pacing and the way in which she captured the conflicting emotions of the pair really kept my focus on the story.
The way in which Cara has been portrayed was spot on. She is a young woman faced with so many questions that she is struggling to answer. She second guesses the way in which her friendship with Grace developed over the years, the way in which she allowed fear to keep her away from Grace when she needed her the most. She is not infallible, or a superwoman, just a girl wanting to help her friend. Her fierce determination is admirable as is her anxiety when faced with a real threat to her and her family. SHe’s a really gutsy character, and the perfect counter to reported Jon who has his own reasons for wanting to find Cara.
Jon is a complex character with his own history with Meg and Grace. I won’t say much other than it informs the relationship with his own family, and it is that which affects, and drives, the way in which he throws himself into the task of finding Grace. It’s not for completely altruistic reasons, he is a journalist first and foremost, but he is also a father and that bond with his son, not wanting to keep disappointing him, makes him more human than many of his profession are often portrayed in literature.
Like I said before, the book didn’t exactly catch me unawares – the basic premise of the story I could guess before I turned the first page – but there were enough twists and turns that it makes you second guess what is happening at times. And this is as much a story of community as it is a mystery or thriller. Of how a town can stand together or be divided by tragedy and scandal. The author has captured that almost claustrophobic sense of everyone knowing everyone else’s business perfectly, using the elements and setting to help generate that tension and atmosphere that threads through the story.
And enjoyable story that works best if you go in blind. You have been warned.
About the Author
Originally from the Cotswolds, Emily Elgar studied at Edinburgh University and went on to complete the novel writing course at the Faber Academy in 2014. She currently lives in East Sussex with her family.
Author links: Twitter